I’ve been anxiously awaiting delivery of a new set of jointer/planer blades. I ruined my old ones on the office project when one of the drawers I built came out about 1/16 of an inch too wide. Running a few brad nails across a $50 set of blades was not cheaper than building a new drawer, but it was a lot faster. Sometimes I make mistakes. I blame Michelle’s husband.
I needed the new blades so I could cut a couple of pieces off the maple plank pictured in my last post and join those together to create a single piece wide enough to make my guitar body. By planing both parts perfectly flat on the edge where the grain is closest together, the joint becomes strong and virtually invisible.
The next step is to place my template on the wood — with that new seam running right down the middle — and use the bandsaw to remove most of the excess material. Like this:
I mentioned above that Michelle’s husband sometimes causes me to make mistakes. One such mistake is visible here; I should have removed more of the excess material sticking out from the template, but, as evidenced by the burnt edges of the wood, my bandsaw blade is getting dull and was having a lot of trouble with that 2-inch thick hard maple.
Underneath that router table is mounted a Porter-Cable Model 7518 Variable Speed Router. It has a 3-1/4 horsepower motor, and, running at top speed for small diameter bits like this one, turns 21,000 RPM. That’s also a brand new high-carbon steel bit, so I knew a little extra 2-inch maple wouldn’t bog the router down, and it would be a lot faster than wrestling with the bandsaw.
In hindsight, I realize you should use a hand-held router for this task in case the bit digs into that excess wood and gets away from you. With the hand-held router, about the worst that can happen is getting the router yanked out of your hands. With the router table, there is a danger of the wood — with your hand on it — getting yanked into the bit. For the record, that really fucking hurts.
I will show you what it does to your glove first, and then the hand. If you don’t want to see it, don’t scroll down much farther. First, a good glove, ruined.
See those nice clean horizontal cuts in the rubber at the tip of the middle finger? The flesh underneath that rubber did not fare nearly as well. The emergency room doctor used the cringe-worthy term, avulsed. According to the Free Dictionary, avulse means to pull off or tear away forcibly. That pretty well sums it up.
That photo is actually considerably less gruesome than what I saw when I pulled that glove off. Fighting extreme pain and dizziness, I made it to my kitchen sink, bellowing for my wife the whole way. I rinsed the fingers, moved all the meat sorta into place, and wrapped a towel around them. I was right on the edge of passing out, but I realized my wife must be outside because she wasn’t responding to my manly bleating. I managed to open the slider and give one last yell before going down. My wife found me a pale, sweaty, bloody mess in the floor.
That was Thursday evening. The emergency room did a more professional rinse and wrap, and sent me home with a prescription and the phone number of a hand surgeon. I saw the hand surgeon Friday afternoon, and he has scheduled surgery for Monday. It’s going to be a long weekend of waiting to see how much of my fingers I get to keep. The hand surgeon seemed confident that I will keep my fingerprints, but the nail area is not going to be pretty